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Remembered Today:

Naval Nurse sent home from Malta - Vegetarian

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  There are many reasons why a nurse would be sent home from a foreign posting, but this one may well be unique.

  Dorothy Helen Trobridge was born at 2 Mountpleasant Street, Belfast on 27th January 1888. Her parents were George Trobridge, Teacher, and Georgina Hartley.

  In March 1901 Dorothy was living with her parents, 2 sisters and 2 brothers at the same address. Her father was now Headmaster at a School of Art in Belfast. As was typical in Ireland the family’s religion was given. For all of them it was ‘New Church Swedenborgian’. Also in the house was a female Domestic Servant, who was a Roman Catholic.

  By April 1911 Dorothy Trowbridge was training as a Nurse at the Middlesex Hospital. She completed her training in 1914.

  On 4th August 1914 Dorothy Trobridge was one of the first batch of Nurses {98 of them} to enlist in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service Reserve {Q.A.R.N.N.S.R.}. She was given a grant of £5, and was posted to Haslar. She was then transferred to the Royal Naval College, Osborne on 31st January 1915 and returned to Haslar 3 months later. Dorothy was then discharged to the Royal Naval Hospital, Chatham a few days later, and this was where she volunteered for overseas service a few days afterwards. It was almost a year later {9th April 1916} when Dorothy finally made here way to Plymouth to await passage to Malta aboard the Hospital Ship ‘Rewa’. She boarded the ‘Rewa’ 11 days later, and arrived in Malta on the 29th April.

  The following is from her service record, and explains what happened;-

{ADM104/162 page 91}

                                         Trowbridge – Dorothy Helen


  May 30/16 – Miss T. writes D.S.G. [Deputy Surgeon General?] Malta that she is a conscientious objector to Vaccination & Inoculation, but that she would submit to these operations rather than be sent back to England.

  May 30/16 – D.S.G. submits that at present Small Pox, Enteric, and Dysentery, exist in Malta, and that Raw Fruits, Raw Vegetables and milk are prohibited. He states that Miss T. is a vegetarian, does not look healthy, & that he does not recommend vaccination at present; also that satisfactory Vegetarian Diet in the Sisters mess is a difficulty, and he therefore submits for consideration the question of her remaining in the Mediterranean Station.

  Memo & Minute 16.6.16 M.D.G. considers Miss T. should be sent home by next ‘Rewa’ trip and relief sent by next outward ‘Rewa’ trip.

  9.6.16 – C.E. Instructs D.S.G. to send Miss T. Home in ‘Rewa’.’


page 123}                                                           Trobridge D.H.

  [un-dated] Docket to C.E. - DSG Malta reports that she objects to vaccination, inoculation & is a vegetarian.

  9.6.16 This sister should be sent home by next trip of ‘Rewa’, a relief sent out in the next outward trip.

  Wire instructions to Malta [signed] A.W.M.

  Joined 29/4/16, no opportunity of judging so far. Is a vegetarian & conscientious objector to vaccination & inoculation. Never been vaccinated. [This would be a response to a request for a confidential character report]

  Appt. R.M. Infy. Deal vice [in place of] Jackson

  10th June 16 Left Malt Hosp on 10th June per Rewa in accordance with telegram 616 {10/6/16}

She had no leave during the time she served at this Establishment.

Royal Marine Infirmary Deal 16.10.16 – Requests to be allowed to resign at an early date owing to Private Affairs.

  16.10.16 Fleet Surgeon, Deal – in forwarding, reports that Matron, Middlesex Hosp, has offered to promote applicant in the Cancer Ward of that Hosp where she served before the war, and is willing, if necessary, to provide a substitute for Miss Trobridge in the Q.A.M.N.N.S.R.

  Joined R.M. Infy. Deal 17/6/16 per from R.N. Hospital, Plymouth.

  M.DG recommends on expiration of usual period of notice’

  Dorothy was awarded a gratuity of £20 for her naval service.


  She married the Reverend John Rous Presland, a Swedenborgian Minister, in Islington in June 1918. The Presland family had produced a number of Swedenborgian Ministers, and John had adopted the middle name ‘Rous’ to distinguish himself from other relations also called John. Dorothy continued to work as a nurse after her marriage. By September 1939 she was recorded as doing ‘unpaid domestic duties’, but her name was in the Nursing Register for 1946. Perhaps she went back to nursing during the Second World War.

  Dorothy died in St. Helens in 1971.


Alf McM


Edited by alf mcm
spelling mistake
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That's fascinating, Alf! Mind if I send it to my colleagues who curate the QARNNS archive?


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The Swedenborgians although not insisting that members adopt a vegetarian diet considered a meat-centered regimen to be "somewhat profane" and a sign of man's fall from grace.

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A very interesting bit of research - thanks very much for posting! I should declare an interest as I'm a vegetarian too....


I have a photo of an infantryman who was a member of the New Church (as the Swedenborgians were known) and have always wondered how he got on during his time in France (he was an early recruit in a K1 Middx Bn). 


As an aside, Swedenborgians appear to have taken names which I assume were given to them by the New Church (like the minister 'Rous', above). My man was known as 'Karel' although his birth name was Stephen.

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10 hours ago, alf mcm said:


  That's fine with me.




Alf McM

Thank you!

I'm on holiday in Norfolk with Other Half (staying at my Dad's) until the 22nd so it'll be after that.


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